This is a review that we got while I was away at Comic-Con.
All I can say is... TO THE MAXXXXXXXXXX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's 80's Undead, a full throttle roller coaster ride through pastel neon la la land... strap in, or get out of line!
Full review after the click, or go HERE to read it on AICN.
NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD #1
Writer: Jason Martin
Artist: Bill McKay
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD is one of those comics that has, like, totally tubular ideas. Though the book is stuffed with awesome concepts that alone are really rad, put ‘em together and they’re just bogus.
I mean, you got a bitchin’ take on zombies, a monster that I thought I’d have to gag myself with a spoon if forced to read another book on them. It’s 1986 and the Soviets (don’t you miss the days when the Russkies were always the villains?) have come up with a diabolical plan to contaminate high-end cocaine shipped via Columbia to the land of the rich and famous. If you thought crack was whack, wait till you see a bunch of Hollywood celebrities wiggin’ out on some nose candy that turns ‘em into grody coke-heads with a gnarly appetite for blow, blood, and brains.
< NIGHT OF THE 80’S intro is sure to get many Generation X-ers stoked, those wishing to reminiscence about days gone by or even some Millennials who think having watched a few John Hughes movies means they understand what the decade was like.
Think of NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD as “American Psycho” meets “Not Another Teen Movie”. You’ve got the violence and self-awareness of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, but then there is the excessive use of tropes and pop culture references of the spoof film. Like Ellis, writer Jason Martin puts way too much effort into creating the setting, filling the pages with numerous visual cues (aided by artist Bill McKay) followed by redundant side remarks that break the fourth wall. The commentary is dropped quickly, but replaced by dialogue that features more famous 80s quotes than original wording. The celebrity cameos work just the same: cool at first, but quickly becoming irritating due to their lack of unique jokes--except for a particular Scientologist who goes unnamed. NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD’s Xenu worshipper makes up for a crass and tasteless version of OJ Simpson and overly-perverted Schwarzenegger who just won’t shut up.
,br> Despite Martin’s flair for the extreme when it comes to his writing, he keeps his coloring to a minimal palette. The comic is mainly done in hues of teal, yellow, and hot pink for the backgrounds, a quick dose of the 80s without going overboard. McKay’s caricatures of the celebrities are spot on and the amount of gore was the only justifiable case for going over the top.
NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD tries all the traditional routes of harkening back to the past, and one model that may one day be effective. Included with the comic is a playlist with specified songs for specific pages. A Spotify link is provided so readers don’t have to hunt through their old mix tapes, burned CDs, or YouTube to find the songs. There’s nothing wrong with the playlist itself. All of the songs fit within their particular context, like Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” and Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge”. The idea of creating a soundtrack to play along while reading the comic is inventive, but not executed properly. I don’t want to have to constantly refer back to the listings to find out what page I’m supposed to play what song. Sometimes the comic reminds you when to change, but I stopped trying to keep up after the first three songs (there are 9 total, most of which you need to change after three pages).
So there you have it. NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD takes a rad plot, throws in some righteous visuals, but just can’t stop with the post-modern parodying. Martin and McKay needed to take a chill pill and stop pushing everything to the max.
Lyzard is Lyz Reblin, a graduate student at the University of Texas pursuing a master's degree in Media Studies... which is just a fancy way of saying she plays a lot video games, watches far too many horror films, and then tries to pass it all off as "research."